Possible New Cure for Peanut Allergy
A recent study of children given nut protein along with a probiotic has potentially saved the lives of 80% of those who took part in the clinical trial. This is the latest in a growing body of research that shows how natural, “friendly bacteria” can improve a variety of maladies from infections to mood to digestive discomfort. In this case, Australian researchers may have found a cure for people with potentially fatal peanut allergies.
Researchers from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute gave 28 peanut-allergic children a fixed daily dose of Lactobacillus rhamnosus together with a dose of peanut protein that increased over an 18-month period. The results were compared to 30 peanut-allergic children receiving a placebo.
At the end of the trial 23 of the probiotic-treated children could eat peanuts without any adverse reaction.
“It appears that we have been able to modify the allergic response to peanut such that the immune system produces protective responses rather than a harmful response to the peanut protein,” said the lead researcher, Mimi Tang.
An estimated 4%-6 % of children in the US suffer from food allergies, and these rates are trending up, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms and severity of the reaction to certain foods varies widely, but the most dangerous is anaphylaxis: an acute, whole-body reaction that may include swelling of the throat and mouth along with severe asthma, shock and death. Individuals with both food allergy and asthma are at a higher risk for food-induced anaphylaxis fatality, and peanuts/tree nuts are a primary cause.
Tang warns against trying the treatment at home. “This treatment must be only be given under close medical supervision, as we are giving peanut to children who are allergic to peanut, and children did have allergic reactions.” Long-term clinical trials are now required to confirm whether the Melbourne patients can still tolerate peanuts in years to come.
Though not a cure, other natural supplements, including traditional Chinese medicine, can help prevent or relieve inflammatory allergy symptoms. See http://greenmed4u.com/shop/allerite/ for more information.